Port Authority Insider (May 2012 Issue)

All Aboard: TPlus Service Begins

Large crowds turn out for opening event, first days of service

A standing-room only crowd of local dignitaries, contractors and transit enthusiasts attended a special ceremony on March 23 to commemorate the opening of TPlus. TPlus, the 1.2-mile light rail extension beneath the Allegheny River to the redeveloped North Shore, is one of the largest public works projects in Pennsylvania history. The project took just over five years to complete and created more than 4,000 jobs during one of the worst economic downturns in 80 years. Since the official start of service on March 25, ridership continues to grow as riders are taking full advantage of this free and convenient new service when traveling between Downtown Pittsburgh and the North Shore.



Public Speaks Up for Transit as Transportation Funding Crisis Looms

Proposed cuts would affect every Port Authority route

More than 350 citizens recently packed the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh to comment on Port Authority's fare increase and service cuts proposal during a 12-hour public hearing. Hundreds more came to listen and show their support for public transportation. Port Authority currently faces a $64 million operating budget shortfall as a result of Pennsylvania's statewide transportation funding crisis and the increasing burden of legacy costs. Without a solution, Port Authority will be forced to cut service by 35%, the largest reduction in its history. A private meeting was held last month with Governor Corbett, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch in the hopes of finding a lasting solution.



Annual Passholders Get Tapped In!

New subscribers and spring renewals are first to use ConnectCard

Customers who either renewed their existing annual pass subscriptions or purchased a new one in March and April became some of the first riders to transition from paper passes to ConnectCard technology. Other current annual passholders will follow based on their renewal dates, with the last group to transition in February 2013. These early adopters serve as "proof of performance" for the new system. You may recall Pitt students, faculty and staff were the first to use the new system last August, however, they did so using their university-issued smart card IDs.





ConnectCard Employee Pilot Underway

Employees participate in pilot to test additional card functions

Following on the heels of the ConnectCard annual passholder launch, a group of approximately 80 Port Authority employees are currently participating in a pilot program to test the technical performance of all other Port Authority pass types, including weeklies, monthlies, 10-trips, discount fares and a new "stored cash value" purse. The test period will last 60 days and help identify any glitches in the system before the larger rollout.